CLOSE
iStock
iStock

Jumping Around Can Help Kids Learn Math

iStock
iStock

Sitting quietly at a desk may be the preferred behavior for elementary-school students, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best way for them to learn. Researchers in Denmark have found that integrating whole-body movement into math lessons can significantly boost kids’ test scores. They published their research in the journal Frontiers of Human Neuroscience

We all know that being active is good for our whole bodies. Recent studies have shown that those benefits reach all the way into the brain for both adults and kids. Intense exertion—the kind that gets your heart rate up—may improve alertness, and is linked to improved motor skills, sharper thinking, and better grades.

So we know that exercise can boost our brainpower. But can it help us learn? To find out, health scientists at the University of Copenhagen created a movement-centric, six-week math curriculum for elementary students. They recruited 165 pupils, all around the age of 7, and divided them into three groups. Some classes were given math lessons three times a week that required them to use their whole bodies (gross motor skills). They jumped, skipped, and crawled around the classroom, all while solving math problems.

Classes in the second group were sedentary but added fine motor skill activities to their lessons—that is, the students were asked to use LEGO bricks to help them solve math problems. 

Kids in the third group, the control group, had their normal math instruction.

All the students were given standardized math tests before, immediately after, and eight weeks after the experiment. (Standardized test scores are not necessarily the best way to measure kids’ understanding, but they do provide a quantitative baseline by which to gauge improvement over the course of an experiment.) 

Over the course of the six-week study, all three groups’ scores improved, but there was a clear winner. Kids in the crawling-skipping-jumping group saw the biggest boost in their scores, improving twice as much as students in the LEGO classes. The upswing in the gross motor skills group’s test scores was modest—about 7.6 percent—but still significant.

“We need to keep this in mind when developing new forms of instruction,” lead author Jacob Wienecke said in a statement.

Unfortunately, the score bump was not universal. Kids who struggled with math at the beginning of the study were still struggling afterward.

“Individual understanding must be taken into account,” Wienecke said. “Otherwise, we risk an unfortunate combined outcome in which those who are already proficient advance, and those who have not yet mastered concepts cannot keep up." 

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
Lists
The 25 Toughest Colleges to Get Into in 2018
iStock
iStock

As many students from the class of 2018 look forward to college, the next year's seniors are gearing up for the application process. The school and neighborhood analysis tool Niche has broken down which universities are the most competitive in 2018.

To compile the list below, Niche pulled data from the U.S. Department of Education on college acceptance rates and the SAT/ACT test scores of enrollees. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Harvard University, one of the oldest and most prestigious colleges in the U.S., ranked No.1 with an acceptance rate of 5 percent and an SAT range of 1430 to 1600 points. Right below that is California's Stanford University, also with an acceptance rate of 5 percent and a slightly lower SAT range of 1380 to 1580. Yale University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the California Institute of Technology round out the top five.

America's best schools don't always come with the highest tuition. According to Niche, the average cost to attend Harvard after financial aid is $16,205 per year. The most expensive school on the list is Harvey Mudd in California in 14th place with a net price of $35,460.

Check out the full list below.

1. Harvard University // Cambridge, Massachusetts
2. Stanford University // Stanford, California
3. Yale University // New Haven, Connecticut
4. Massachusetts Institute of Technology // Cambridge, Massachusetts
5. California Institute of Technology // Pasadena, California
6. Princeton University // Princeton, New Jersey
7. University of Chicago // Chicago
8. Columbia University // New York
9. Vanderbilt University // Nashville, Tennessee
10. Brown University // Providence, Rhode Island
11. University of Pennsylvania // Philadelphia
12. Duke University // Durham, North Carolina
13. Dartmouth College // Hanover, New Hampshire
14. Harvey Mudd College // Claremont, California
15. Pomona College // Claremont, California
16. Northwestern University // Evanston, Illinois
17. Rice University // Houston, Texas
18. Johns Hopkins University // Baltimore, Maryland
19. Swarthmore College // Swarthmore, Pennsylvania
20. Claremont McKenna College // Claremont, California
21. Washington University in St. Louis // St. Louis, Missouri
22. Cornell University // Ithaca, New York
23. Amherst College // Amherst, Massachusetts
24. Bowdoin College // Brunswick, Maine
25. Tufts University // Medford, Massachusetts

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
Live Smarter
The 25 Most In-Demand Job Skills Right Now, According to LinkedIn
iStock
iStock

Looking for a new job? Depending on what line of work you’re in, you may want to brush up on your technical skills—or learn some new ones. LinkedIn recently released a list of the 25 most desirable skills for 2018, and it’s clear that many employers are on the lookout for people with experience in computing, web development, and software and data engineering.

LinkedIn analyzed data from its member base of more than 500 million people to determine which skills are most needed by employers, according to Business Insider. The thousands of individual skills that can be found across member profiles were grouped into overarching categories (iOS, for instance, would go under the mobile development umbrella). Next, LinkedIn analyzed hiring and recruiting activity during an eight-month span and “identified the skill categories that belonged to members who were more likely to start a new role within a company and receive interest from companies.”

Here’s the full list:

1. Cloud and Distributed Computing
2. Statistical Analysis and Data Mining
3. Middleware and Integration Software
4. Web Architecture and Development Framework
5. User Interface Design
6. Software Revision Control Systems
7. Data Presentation
8. SEO/SEM Marketing
9. Mobile Development
10. Network and Information Security
11. Marketing Campaign Management
12. Data Engineering and Data Warehousing
13. Storage Systems and Management
14. Electronic and Electrical Engineering
15. Algorithm Design
16. Perl, Python, and Ruby
17. Shell Scripting Languages
18. Mac, Linux, and Unix Systems
19. Java Development
20. Business Intelligence
21. Software QA and User Testing
22. Virtualization
23. Automotive Services, Parts and Design
24. Economics
25. Database Management and Software

Many of these skills can be learned from the comfort of your home via online classes that are available on platforms like Udemy, Coursera, edX, and Lynda. While it couldn’t hurt to know these hard skills, 57 percent of business leaders surveyed by LinkedIn said soft skills are even more important. Those tend to be more universal across careers, with leadership, communication, collaboration, and time management being identified as the most crucial soft skills to have in 2018.

If you’re ready to start learning a new skill but don’t know where to start, check out this list of 25 ways to learn a new skill quickly.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios